“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph”
— Matt Hardy
Basics of Composition Workshop and Photo Tour of Leiden
About the Workshop
We will take you to 24 locations in the beautiful city of Leiden , some well-known, some less so where we will explain and demonstrate the basic rules of composition; equally valid for smartphones and state of the art digital cameras (and also painting and drawing).
In this workshop, I’ll cover basic compositional techniques that artists have been developing for hundreds of years.
Keep it simple
But perhaps the most basic ‘rule’ is ‘keep your picture simple’.
• Eliminate unwanted distraction and detail by framing carefully.
• Do not chop the tops or sides off things (or people!).
• Avoid unwanted objects protruding (like lamp posts appearing to grow from the top of someone’s head)
• Don’t simply think ”‘oh that’s nice” CLICK.
Practice practice practice
After the workshop, take every opportunity to practice what you have learned. Look critically at what you have photographed, and ask yourself how you could improve the picture.
It is quite difficult to judge your pictures objectively. One great way of getting feedback is to post them on Instagram.
And following others on Instagram is a great way to find inspiration.
The workshop and photo tour of Leiden covers a distance of about 6 km.
Who the workshop and photo tour of Leiden is aimed at
The workshop is suitable for all abilities, from enthusiastic beginners to experienced photographers who would like to be reminded of the basics of good composition.
What you should know
No prior knowledge of photography or the rules of artistic of composition is necessary.
All you need to bring is something that will take photographs, and your enthusiasm!
However, if you would like to hire a DSL camera for the workshop, we can lend you one for the duration.
What you will learn
• Rule of space
• Leading lines
• Patterns and textures
• Interesting shapes
• Varying the angle
• Depth of field
By the end of the workshop and photo tour of Leiden, you will have gained an insight into how to take photographs instead of snapshots.
The difference between a snapshot and a photograph
Smartphones make it easy to take pictures; you always have a camera to hand. You see something you like, and CLICK you have a picture of it. With a bit of luck, and depending on the conditions, the result may be very pleasing.
Sometimes you have to be quick to capture a moment, but usually with a bit of thought and planning you could have made it even better. Walk around a bit to make sure you have the best angle, and bet lighting. Apply the rule of thirds; make sure there is space around an object or person; do not chop the top off things; make sure there are no ugly distractions (such as portable toilets!)
Your camera sees things differently
Here’s the thing: you eyes and brain are far more sophisticated than even the most advanced camera sensor. For a start, they are about a thousand times more sensitive to light, which is why a woodland in summer appears as soft shadows and dappled pools of light, while a photograph of the same small is patches of green with detail, and large areas of black and white devoid of anything.
Your eyes interpret the scene around you, a camera records it literally. So why bother, you may ask. Well, a camera (obviously) can record a snapshot in time, which your eyes cannot. But what transforms than snapshot into a photograph is when you value to it. For example use backlighting to form a halo round a person. Or use a fast shutter speed to freeze a moving object. Or a slow shutter speed so water appears silky and moving. And a photograph can present shapes, patterns and textures that your eyes do not readily discern.
The duration is approximately 3 hours. And afterwards we will go for a warm cup of coffee to discuss what you have learned, and talk about what the next steps might be.
If you are staying in Leiden, and would like to be collected from your hotel or apartment, please contact us.
But it seldom rains the for whole day. If the rain is torrential the workshop will be cancelled, but if it is not heavy the workshop will go on regardless.
Photographers are a hardy breed, and stormy skies and wet pavements present some of the most exciting photo opportunities!